Mobile Game Success and Sustainability: Advice from Auroch Digital's Tomas Rawlings

Developer Stories

September 1, 2016


min read

Dr. Tomas Rawlings doesn't like one-hit wonders.Instead of creating the next Flappy Bird, Rawlings and the 20-person team at Bristol-based mobile game studio Auroch Digital is focused on sustainability and steady, determined growth.Over the past six years of Auroch's existence, the long game play has paid off. The award-winning studio?known for trading card game Endgame: Syria and strategic news game NarcoGuerra?is even beginning to collaborate with big names such as BBC and Games Workshop. Rawlings has been invited to speak at TEDx Houses of Parliament on behalf of the studio.Rawlings, the company's design and production director, shared his thoughts on what's helped Auroch continue to succeed, as well as his advice for other indie studios looking to grow a mobile game business by entering the marathon rather than the sprint.

On embracing the practicalities

Making money is hard. People look at the success stories and think, "I can do that," but they are the outliers. The reality for most games is something like the projects you see on Kickended?a site that logs all the $0 Kickstarter campaigns.The day-to-day realities inform how you work?and that tension creates its own form of energy. If you have an amazing idea for a feature there is a burst of creativity to work away at it, but sooner or later once the creative dust settles you need to make the feature. That is game development: moments of spark driving hard work that catch fire.

Mobile game developer meetups

On surrounding yourself with the right people

Take part in game jams, connect to local universities and colleges, go to local meetups.Big companies spend lots of money trying to get recruitment right as they understand that it's the people that make any enterprise. Being part of the wider Bristol Game Hub community (a non-profit working space that brings devs and students together) is one part of how we do this.We like to give people a chance to show what they can do by sharing demos, samples of work or completing new tasks we set them. It means we get to know people more informally and see their work.

Mobile game developer golden rule

On Auroch's golden rule

Success is always happy players. There is no magic formula that translates to any other form. All you can do is use the skills and tools your team has to make something you're happy with and invite others to join in. That might sound simple, but it's the reality for games dev.We also need to pay the bills, so we have to consider the income, too, but games come first. Game development is a creative endeavor and that needs to guide what you do.